Buying the right sports bra for running

Don‘t be let down by your bra on race day

All us ladies out running know that we need a decent sports bra, but for 26.2 miles, it is important that your bra fits comfortably and does the job. Not only does a well-fitting bra alleviate discomfort across the bust and remove uncomfortable movement, it can also improve your running times and overall enjoyment of a running event. Here's our guide on finding the right sports bra for your running.

One sports bra may not be enough for all your run training and the big race day. Pretty Polly estimate a sports bra with moderate use needs replacing every three to four months. This obviously is more frequent if usage is higher (such as marathon training) and for larger cup sizes where the elasticity may deteriorate faster.

So how do I know if my running bra is well fitting?
A sports bra should fit snugly, but not so tight there are bits bulging over the top, sides or back. You should only be able to insert one or two fingers under the band or into the cup.

When will I know if my sports bra needs replacing?
The most obvious sign it needs replacement is increased movement of the bust, but as this is gradual, you may not be aware of it. Another frequent occurrence is the start of rubbing of a previously comfortable bra over longer running distances. This again indicates the bra is moving against the skin more than it should be; which is often a sign they need replacing or the bra is not quite supportive enough. It is also important to recognise if your weight does change with an increase in run training your bra size may also change and therefore a new bra may be required.

So which sports bras are good for running in?
The most important factors are comfort and support.

A cup: Sportjock ActionSport or Falke Full Support Bra or Dans-ez Minimal Bounce

B cup: Shock Absorber range B517 (most supportive) or B102, B5107, B972, B518 or Moving Comfort Mesh Underwire or Anita Full Support

C cup: Champion ActionShape, Anita Full Support, Panache Hi Impact Bra

D cup and above: Panache Hi Impact Bra, Enell Sports Bra

Everyone’s bust is different and what works for one lady may not work for all, even if identical sizes. Therefore it is important to ensure your bra fits as comfortably as your running trainers for your marathon. Bras do not require ‘running in’ in the same way as trainers, but it is inadvisable to wear an untried bra for the full distance.

Try on a new bra and try running on the spot in it to ensure it does the job you need it to. If you are happy you are going to keep the bra, take it on a short run first to ensure there are no places that rub and then a long run, as something comfortable for 30 minutes, may be significantly less comfortable after 90 minutes. Do try this even if the bra is an exact replacement as there can be manufacturing discrepancies between supposedly identical bras (and your bra may have changed shape/size slightly with previous wear and washing). If you are happy it is the best bra do then keep it for the big race and wear another one for general training to ensure it is as supportive as possible.


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